In "The Constant Gardener", based on a John LeCarré novel of the same name, Ralph Fiennes plays a somewhat naive, dull British diplomat. While delivering a speech on behalf of his boss before a university crowd, Fiennes' character, named Justin Quayle, is challenged on aspects of British foreign policy by a feisty activist, Tessa (played by Rachel Weisz). Tessa seems touched by Justin's gentleness and sincerity, and he is excited by her energy and accepting of her politics.
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When Justin is assigned to a posting in Kenya, Tessa insists on accompanying him, as his wife. They settle into diplomats' quarters in Nairob, where Justin works for the British High Commission and Tessa works with a local doctor, Arnold Bluhm, in promoting AIDS awareness and testing in remote villages. Through her work in villages and her connections with international NGOs in the health field, Tessa becomes aware of the not-so-altruistic motives of pharmaceutical companies dispensing drugs for AIDS patients. Tessa observes, researches, gathers information and writes a potentially explosive report on the practices of these companies and their true reasons for dispensing drugs in Africa. Although Justin is not aware of the report, Tessa negotiates with one of Justin's High Commission colleagues to bring the report to the attention of authorities in Britain.
Tessa's and Arnold's work, however, generates suspicion and leads to their brutal murder. Justin is not satisfied with letting the High Commission manage the inquiry into his wife's death, and decides to further explore the matter. He learns of the report, and of his government's complicity in the dealings of the pharmaceutical companies. Leaving Kenya for Britain, and then Europe, Justin follows the trail of his wife's research and meets with activists in Europe and Africa who fill him in on the pharmaceutical companies' deadly drug trials on impoverished populations. Justin realizes that, alone, he cannot change this state of affairs that is larger than he is, but he can come to terms with his wife's death and his naivete.
The review of this Movie prepared by Jan Arata